Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 28 October 2010

As we dig in for the long crawl out of this financial mess, it is worth reminding ourselves that not everything in the garden is full of thistles, far from it. One area locally where we have much to crow about is education. Our schools, both primary and secondary, throughout this constituency have consistently delivered excellence for our children.
Even in these straitened times the government has managed to preserve the schools budget. This is part of the balancing act we have tried to pull off: tackle the current black hole without endangering the next generation. Indeed, we are determined to cut the deficit precisely so that it does not become a millstone around the necks of our children, who should not have to pay for our mistakes. If we are to flourish as a country once we get through this dark tunnel, it will be on the back of our brightest and best and nothing must be done to stand in their way.
Although there will be isolated incidences of difficulty, our schools should manage to retain their teaching compliments for the next four years. We are fortunate to have five secondary schools, four of which are outstanding and the other good with outstanding aspects. Each year they produce pupils of academic excellence, sportsmen and women of great prowess, artists, musicians and all round good citizens who will help lead us into the future.
They are assisted greatly by the seed corn delivered to them by our local primaries, most of which are also excellent. A growing minority of children have turbulent home lives these days; yes even in these so called leafy suburbs, which of course they are not. It is remarkable to see the dedication of teachers and support staff, making every effort to address these shortcomings and produce balanced individuals.
There may be more of a shakeup in higher education. The cap on tuition fees will soon be lifted, meaning that universities can charge more. This in turn will mean that most students will have to borrow more from the Student Loan Company and graduate with a debt of maybe £40,000 which they will have to start to repay once their salary exceeds £21,000. Currently 45% of school leavers go to university. I predict that more will ask themselves whether this is the right option. If it means that more peel away earlier to do vocational training, this may be a silver lining.

posted by Gary @ 17:06